Submitted by Thiruvelan on Fri, 06/25/2010

Melatonin is a hormone synthesis in the brain, increased by darkness and decreased by light. It helps to keep falling asleep and wake up cycle.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone synthesis in the brain by the pineal gland, from tryptophan (amino acid). The synthesis and release of melatonin are increasing by darkness and decrease by light. It helps regulate other hormones and maintain the body's circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is an internal 24-hour clock that plays a critical role in when to fall asleep and when to wake up. High levels of melatonin in the blood are common prior to bedtime. Bright light in the evening and dull light in the morning can disturb the body’s normal melatonin secretion.

Melatonin also helps control the release of reproductive hormones in females. It helps to determine when to start menstruation, frequency, duration of menstrual cycles, and when to stop menstruation (menopause).

Some researchers show that melatonin levels may be related to aging, that is younger children have the highest levels of melatonin secretion at nighttime as compared with adults. Therefore, it believes that melatonin levels to drop with aging. Some even think lower levels of melatonin may be the reason behind some older adults have sleep problems and tend to go to bed and wake up earlier than when they are younger.

Melatonin is misspelled as melatonin, melatonin, melatonin, melatonin, melatonin, melatonin.

Synthetic Melatonin

Synthetic melatonin can be useful for the treatment of difficult falling and/or staying asleep. It can also take to prevent jet lag (condition marked by fatigue, insomnia, and irritability that cause by air travel through changing time zones). Melatonin has antioxidant property, and many of its proposed therapeutic or preventive uses are base on this property.

Melatonin sleep supplements

Many studies suggest that melatonin supplement may help people with disrupted circadian rhythms (jet lag or night shift working) and those with low melatonin levels (aged adults and people with schizophrenia) to sleep better.
A few clinical studies suggest that when taken for short-term (days to weeks) melatonin is more effective in limiting the time it takes to fall asleep, increases sleeping hours, and boost daytime alertness.

Other benefits of melatonin

Melatonin is considered being supportive of the treatment of many diseases, but need further study to confirm it.

  • Sleep disturbances in children with neuro-psychiatric disorders, Sleep enhancement in healthy people, Insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder(narcolepsy), Work shift sleep disorder
  • Alzheimer's disease (sleep disorders), Parkinson's disease, Seizure disorder, Stroke,
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Bipolar disorder (sleep disturbances),
  • Cancer treatment, Chemotherapy side effects,
  • Depression, Glaucoma, Headache prevention (including migraine), High blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, Periodic limb movement disorder, Rett syndrome, Schizophrenia, Seasonal affective disorder.

Possible side effects of melatonin: fatigue, dizziness, headache, irritability, and sleepiness, still may be occurred due to jet lag and not by melatonin itself. Fatigue may be due to morning use or high doses, and irregular sleep-wake cycles may occur. Disorientation, confusion, sleepwalking, vivid dreams, and nightmares may occur. Due to daytime sleepiness, those driving or operating machinery should be careful.

Melatonin safety: Melatonin is selling without a prescription in health-food stores and drug stores still are not approving by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. So, its purity, safety, and effectiveness are not regulating by a government agency.